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A Capital Celebration with Help From The Capitol Steps

By Cheryl Heppner 6/19/11 

HLAA packs so much into its conferences that I have long ago given up trying to report on all that happened in sequence. Today I’m fast forwarding to the end, though you’ll eventually get reports on John Waldo’s account of what happened with movie captioning after the troops had hit the beach, Matthew Gerst’s statistics (sneak preview: 2.2 trillion texts a day, 2 million apps), and the research symposium presentation which began with the Robert Louis Stevenson bit “dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller…”Yes, only in Crystal City, and only at an HLAA conference. What’s not to love?

Dining and Entertainment

There I was last night, two escalator rides down from ground floor of the hotel, milling with hundreds of others as we waited for admission to the Regency Ballroom for “A Capital Celebration” to kick off, wondering where in the world the last 4 days had gone.

The doors opened at 7 pm and we flooded in to find the tables to which we’d been assigned. But only after showing our passes to the volunteers and staff guarding the doors, lest Voldemort try to gain entrance and do mischief.

Alas, that’s a fib, but it sounded much more interesting than the truth: they were checking our tickets to find our table numbers and point us in the proper direction, thus saving us the indignity of fumbling for our reading glasses and needlessly wandering about.

My table was #28, where I got to see crack HLAA photographer Cindy Dyer (before she sped off to get more stunning shots) and her Michael, ALDA president Cynthia Amerman, three of the veteran conference tech geeks – Max McCarthy, Les Callaway, Joe Duarte -- who blazed the way for thousands to learn at HLAA conventions through the benefit of those precious listening systems. Also on hand was Meg Duarte, wife of Joe, who just happens to be one of the superb Board of Directors at NVRC.

After eating and talking and laughing myself silly (the hits just keep on coming with those tech guys), I settled down for the short program hosted by Suzanne D’Amico of the HLAA Board of Trustees. Executive Director Brenda Battat recognized special guests including award winner David Myers, and international guests and those involved in the loop conference such as Ruth Warwick, president of the International Federation of the Hard of Hearing (IFHOH), Conny Andersson, Knut Ellingsen, loop conference chair Dana Mulvany, Juliette Sterkins of Wisconsin, and Pat Kricos, head of the American Academy of Audiology.

The Prestigious Rocky Stone Humanitarian Award was presented by Ahme Stone, widow of HLAA founder Rocky Stone, to Anne Pope, former HLAA Board of Trustees member. Ahme read a long list of Anne’s achievements and contributions, noting that Anne initiated the idea of the now famous HLAA Walk4Hearing and served as its first national chair as well chairing the New York City Walk4Hearing for the past five years. “And she does windows too,” Ahme said.

A Capitol Chuckle

I had been eagerly anticipating the performance of the Washington institution known as The Capitol Steps, a song and dance comedy team with the motto “we put the mock in democracy”. I’ve seen them twice before in person and once on television but never before live with CART so I that I could know what they were saying and singing.

What a difference that makes. They were hysterically funny! We were treated to segments about Osama Bin Laden “Under the Sea…with sturgeons instead of virgins”, President Obama as the Old Spice Man, Donald Trump and a misstep “guess you played your trump card!” and John Boehner as Phantom of the Opera “gave power to the loonies of the night”.

Then there was the hilarious border scene in Arizona with the surprise ending, as well as the answer to “who would Jesus TIVO?” The Capitol Steps celebrate their 30th anniversary this year, and I hope they’ve got many talented understudies waiting in the wings.

I can only imagine what torture it was to caption this fast-paced show with so many unexpecteds. My hat is off to my toes in honor of the CART writer who made it through, especially with the convoluted words in the last segment. It’s not every day you read “laid his tards on the cable” or “jost his lob” or “a waby out of bedlock” or “mush-honey” with deep relief in the knowledge that your brain has not gone haywire.







For more information about the Capitol Steps please click here.